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If Pelicans keep 10th pick, Moses Moody and Franz Wagner make for ideal fits

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Good versatile defenders who can help offensively is the name of the game

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Arkansas at Baylor Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors have been abound for weeks regarding the 10th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but if the Pelicans decide to keep their first rounder, there are several tantalizing prospects who could be sitting on the board that have our attention and would make for great fits alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

Kevin: Moses Moody

The 10th pick is and has always been all about Moses Moody for me. I’ve seen him mocked anywhere from 6 to 17 so there’s no real consensus where he will land.

Should the Pelicans hold onto their pick or trade within his range, I have my fingers and toes crossed that Woj tweets, “The New Orleans Pelicans have fixed a lecherous stare upon and sent a drink with their phone number on a cocktail napkin to Moses Moody.”

If you follow me, you are likely aware of my love for Mikal Bridges and perhaps that my first article for The Bird Writes (back in 2014) suggested a trade for Khris Middleton. I feel like Moses Moody will end up looking like a combo of those two players in the not-too-distant future.

Moody is 6’-5” and boasts a Bridges-like 7’-1” wingspan. He has the instincts, IQ, foot speed and agility to be a nightmare defensively both on and off ball and at multiple positions. He’ll enter the league with a better jump shop than Middelton and Bridges when they began their pro careers. Moody is also a decisive cutter and a quality playmaker. He moves well off the ball and hunts locations to get his shot off. His game doesn’t demand that he have the ball to be effective, but he can create for himself. That combined with his defensive versatility make him a perfect fit with any roster, but especially the Pelicans with Zion and Ingram who both operate best with the ball in their hands.

Moody is only 19 years old but feels like a rookie who could contribute immediately — much like Desmond Bane.

Charlie: Moses Moody

Moses Moody has been my guy for some time now, with the only concern being whether he might be off the board. But he is the ideal Pelicans pick for a variety of reasons.

Moody gives you the best of both worlds from a draft perspective. He starred for Arkansas last season but is also just 19 coming off a freshman campaign. His length has been discussed ad nauseam, but it’s part of his next level appeal. A potential elite 3-and-D type player that has experience as a creator but doesn’t need the ball is exactly what the Pelicans need. Heck, it’s why so many have mentioned Corey Kispert and Chris Duarte as Pelicans options for their shooting alone.

Moody doesn’t project to be the lockdown all defensive wing, but he should be a very good team defender with a propensity for weak side blocks. Shooting, defense and youth makes him a home run choice for New Orleans.

Oleh: Franz Wagner

I’m a big fan of Moody, yet Franz Wagner is the prospect I’ve had circled for New Orleans since before the end of the regular season. He does not offer the upside of a Josh Giddey or James Bouknight but does project to be a high-end role player who should be above average on both sides of the ball, providing for a seamless fit for years next to Zion and B.I.

Wagner’s mobility on his 6’9 frame and overall understanding of the game are darn impressive traits. He won’t be a stopper but should be an excellent team defender and can guard multiple positions really well thanks to nimble feet, active hands and the exhibition of other strong fundamentals (low athletic stance, good head swivel). On offense, he is extremely decisive and intelligent with the ball, showing the ability to make all the passes without the turnovers. He possesses enough ball-handling skills to push it some in transition, run PnR’s effectively and be a reliable secondary playmaker.

The biggest weakness is Wagner’s game coming out of college is that he wasn’t an aggressive and reliable shotmaker, but I believe that will change in the pro ranks after putting in work with good developmental coaches in the NBA. I have confidence the accuracy on his 3-ball will improve significantly as well as on attempts near the rim in traffic.

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.